Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Triple Stroll

Bought it for $10 at a yard sale.
Sold it for $25 on Craigslist.
Net profit: Fifteen bucks and some cute pictures.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I knew before we arrived here that the best and easiest place to find friends would be the Mother's Lounge at church. I pictured myself walking in, parking my skirt in a recliner, and striking up conversation with the breastfeeding mom next to me. And that's exactly how it happened. I've made some lovely friends here and had a few fun playdates. One lives in our building (Breanna, and Brianna thinks we're lying about Hazel's mommy's name), and she's the only other person under age 90. Seriously. The ad for this rental failed to mention this condo was in elderly-land.
Another friend I made at Smith's.  The grocery store! How did I make a friend at the grocery store?! Especially since I was in a big hurry, dressed like I just rolled out of bed, and trying to control a preschooler begging for all that crap the evil conspiring grocery store owners put at children's eye-level.   But my new friend Jen somehow saw past that, and we've had fun doing lunch dates and a trip to Kangaroo Zoo. 

Still.... I miss my friends in Cedar. I had such amazing friends in Cedar. Like the kinds that cleaned my bathroom for me when I was incapacitated post-injury and wiped my kids' bums without thinking twice. Have I ever told the story of how I made my very first friend in Cedar? Twas the day after we arrived from Vernal, and I immediately went to Gold's to unfreeze my gym membership. Post-Pump class, I followed a cute friendly-looking mommy to the childcare to pick up our similarly aged daughters. I blurted out some random sentence that went something like "oh, your girl is so cute! Did you like that class? I didn't. But I guess it was just different than my old gym's pump class. I just moved here yesterday. I don't know anyone. I don't even know where the grocery store is. I think our daughters are about the same age!"  Fortunately, Kristin didn't run away from me immediately. Though she may now wish she would have.  :)
I kept KDawg busy at the end playing Cinderella for me. Why can't my friends all just move with me?!

But it's ok. We have Facebook. And blogging. And texting. Oh, and I guess there's actual phone conversations... but who does THAT anymore?!  :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sibling strategizing

Brianna:  "I'd like to call this meeting to order. ORDER! Everyone here?
Bennett: "Here"
Courtney: "Present"
Brianna: "No presents. We have to hurry - mom's busy making dinner. Let's get the schedule for tonight figured out. Who can do the early bedtime shift?"
Bennett: "I got it. I took a short afternoon nap, so I'll go to bed around 6:30. That way mom and dad can't plan any family outings away from the house, since Dad gets home about that same time tonight."
Courtney: "Great. And I just woke up from a long evening nap, so I'll stay wide awake and playful til 9:45."
Brianna: "Perfect. And of course I can't fall asleep until all you babies are out, so I'll be up til ten."
Bennett: "Okay. And then Mom will do her usual compulsive cleaning bedtime routine, so she won't go to sleep until 11pm. Right when she's just about drifted off to dreamland, I'll starting howling for my first night feeding."
Courtney: "Great. Then I'll take the 2am feeding."
Bennett: "Then I think I can manage a 3am."
Brianna: "And I'll wake up begging for water at 3:05, so Dad will have to get up too."
Courtney: "Brianna, do you want to really chug it down, so you can wet the bed around 4am?"
Brianna: "No, let's give her a break. I'm totally over that anyway - I'm more into faking nightmares now"
Bennett: "Whatever. You just know you won't get pancakes for breakfast if you don't use the potty."
Brianna:  =P
Courtney: "Hey now guys - no arguing. We have to stay united and keep our team together. It's us against them. We can win!"
Bennett: "No worries - my 5:30am morning wake time always gets them. I'll be giggly and happy til the sun comes up at 7!
Brianna: "Right. Then you go down and we get up, right Court!"
Courtney: "Right!"
Brianna: "Ok team, remember the plan. Stick to it. I'll sneak snacks out to you if she traps you in that playpen during the day."
Courtney and Bennett: "Yessssssss!"

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bennett's back

Pardon the ugly floor rug. I just ordered this one from Amazon. Please arrive soon!
I don't know if you can see it very well, but Bennett has a smiley-mouth-shaped bald line on the back of his head. I take it as a personal strike against my mothering skills, since it's physical evidence that the poor boy has spent too much time on his back, rubbing that head against the ground. Courtney has one too, of course. But Brianna never had it as a baby - she was held nearly all the time! Now that they spend their days sitting up instead of laying down (still not being held as much as they should be. I'll always feel mommy guilt for that) I'm hoping their hair grows back in quickly.
Until then, I prefer the sight of his hair from the front:


Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I absolutely loved seeing Brian play with Brianna all during her baby + toddler years. And I still do now of course. But those first months/years of that Daddy-daughter connection was just magical. It made my heart melt. Now Brian has that same connection with Courtney. The daddy-daughter time is so sweet, and they all enjoy each other so much. The photobook I made for Brian last year of just pictures of him and Brianna together (over 100 of them) gets opened and looked at by those two quite often ("Daddy - read me the Daddy Brianna book!")  So sweet.
The other day I just realized... I get to make TWO more of those books in a year or two! Courtney and Bennett are going to want their own Daddy & Me photobooks! So I better get more consistent in taking individual pictures of them with their father.
The Father-Son connection is different than the Daddy-daughter one. It's hard to explain why or how. They're buddies. They'll do Father-Son camping trips together for years and years (Brian actually asked if he could bring Bennett to our ward's trip this summer..... ummm, right!) Brian's going to get him started on basketball training as soon as the kid can control his major motor skills. He's going to be Bennett's biggest fan (and absolutely refuses to acknowledge the possibility that Bennett might not be into sports. That's blasphemy to him. Sheesh.)
But for right now, I love seeing Bennett's eyes light up when his Daddy gets home. I love seeing Brian hold his son and talk to him about all their future plans together. And I love that I have a couple years of having Bennett all to myself during nursing sessions - this may be the only time in his life he prefers me over his Dad!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Visiting Teaching story

I wasn't going to share this story on the blog... because it's long (thus the tiny typing) and personal (which = boring?) but just yesterday I felt like I should for my own sake, or it will be one of those experiences that are totally forgotten. And it shouldn't be forgotten, because it was a very frustrating yet strengthening one for me. One of those major out-of-my-comfort-zone moments. I should probably start a real journal. But maybe someone else will benefit from reading this this. Here we go: 
I've never liked the title of our church's program Visiting Teaching. It just sounds so formal. I think of it as "assigned chatting." But maybe I should treat it more formal and take it more seriously. I mean - I always do it. I like being able to report 100%. That's just my compulsive nature. It wouldn't matter what it was - if I'm supposed to do something and I know someone will be calling me at the end of the month to find out if I did it... I'm going to do it.  Could someone please call me at the end of the month to find out if I've lost 10 pounds yet? Maybe that will motivate me enough to get it done.  :)   So in Cedar City, my "companion" was Jami Niles. Love that girl. We got really close and spent a lot of time together during my 20 month tenure in Southern Utah. We had a lot in common, yet enough dissimilar to keep it interesting. 
Jami and I visited 4 women. Three were relatively easy - super active in the church, flexible schedules, and didn't mind that we always tended to gab on and on way too long (I'm a big believer in a twenty minute time limit to visits... yet I usually go way over). But one of our "assignments" wasn't active in the church at all. I'll just call her M.   I know she won't read this (not that I would mind if she did), because she doesn't really do internet stuff, as far as I know. No Facebook, email, blogging.... that would've made it more easy to get to know her better! I tried hard to internet-stalk, but came up with nothing. She never answered phone calls or texts either. So Jami and I just had to randomly stop by. Every month. Several times a month. Sometimes there was no answer all month long. We dropped off notes and gifts. So - why not stop harassing her? Obviously she didn't WANT us coming! You'd think. But when we DID get to visit with her... it was great! We always had a nice conversation and she seemed to genuinely appreciate that we came over! She had told the RS Prez that she did, in fact, want (or would be willing to have? Big difference. Don't know how it was presented) Visiting Teachers. So until she would tell us to not come back anymore.... we were going to keep on coming! I even told her in the notes we'd leave at her door (when it was the end of the month and we still hadn't caught her) that I didn't want to bug her or be annoying in any way. We just wanted to be her friend. And her neighbor - she was only a few doors down. And I really meant it! I like M. She was a really cool girl - a fabulous decorator, very down-to-earth, so super duper gorgeous it was unfair, and a good mom to their 5 year boy (one of the cutest little boys you've ever seen on this planet. Serious). We had a unique connection because she knew my inlaws pretty well. So that was a topic of conversation I could fall back on if we ran out of things to talk about. We had some good laughs about small-town stereotypes and our similar experiences in Ferron-town visits. 
So month after month, we visited. We talked. We shared a short message from the Ensign while she silently listened. It got a little awkward sometimes. But I tried to always keep it light. I never want to seem pushy or self righteous. I didn't want to be another reason she stayed away from church! Yet I was dying to know what WAS her reason for staying away! I had no idea. Her husband was also from an active family. But they didn't come to any activities I invited them to, and only came to church once (such a thrill for me! I totally thought something amazing had happened! But it was a one-hit wonder).
My RS Prez called me one night and asked if I wanted to just take her off our visiting teaching list. She knew of our monthly struggles to contact her and apparent lack of progress. I told her no way. I couldn't. 
Because one day, months previous, I had been walking by and M's father happened to be visiting. I stopped to say hi. When I told him I was M's visiting teacher, he looked at me and said, "don't give up on her." He said it with a smile, but I sensed he was very serious and sincere. I promised him I wouldn't. 

So - fast forward to our final week in Cedar City. I had 6 days notice that we were moving. I had hundreds of things to do. Fast. One of those things was a final visit to M. I knew I couldn't leave with just another superficial conversation tip-toeing around the real issue. No more ignoring the elephant in the corner. 
Before our visit, I read this talk by Elder Bednar, and printed out a copy for M.  If you haven't read it, read it now. If you have already heard it, read it again. Such an amazing message. You can't read it without feeling the truthfulness of his words in your heart. I wasn't sure if M's issue had to do with being offended, but I thought it couldn't hurt to bring it with me in case. 
So Jami and I knocked on M's door for our final visit. Fortunately we caught her. She actually had moved homes in the neighborhood just a couple months prior, so we weren't even sure we had the right door (all the homes in our neighborhood look the same). 
The conversation started as usual. How's your's your son.... love what you've done with your home... what are you reading lately (she loves reading)... how was your birthday.... blahblahblah. That went on way too long before I finally got up the courage. I tried hard to hide my voice shaking. But I knew this was it - I was leaving and likely wouldn't see her again, so if I offended her by being blunt... oh well. I'd rather live with that, than live wondering what would've happened if I hadn't taken then easy route. So I told M... before I move, I want you to know - this may have been as assignment to visit you, but I'd be here even if it wasn't, because I consider you a great friend, and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to have gotten to know you more  [yes, I was doing a run-on sentence - I was nervous!]. M - what exactly is preventing you from fully participating in the programs and blessings of the church?
I had no idea what reaction to expect. Jami sat in silence next to me. M hesitated. Then she opened up and we had a great conversation about her issues with the church. I can't really begin to explain them, because it wasn't making sense at all. I don't even think it made sense to her. I think she was looking for excuses. She mentioned a few things that upset her about church history and current social issues. And I totally validated that. I could relate. I don't understand certain parts of our history and why our current church leaders have made particular decisions! M said it wasn't her husband that was holding their family back from church - it was her. She said the one time they had gone, it was because she wanted her son to learn more about Jesus Christ. But something someone had said in their testimony (she came on the first Sunday of a month) didn't sit well with her. I listened to everything she had to say. I asked a few gentle, prodding questions. I tried to not be judgmental at all and just listen. In the end I told her that I understood a lot of her concerns and shared them. There's so much we don't understand. We'll never understand it all. So I put those issues up on the shelf. Because they don't matter as much as what I DO know - The Book of Mormon is true. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the Lord's church upon this earth. We are led by a prophet of God. I know this without any doubt in my mind. I feel the truthfulness of the gospel validated to me when I pray for help. Real joy and happiness in this life and beyond can only be fully found within The Plan of our Heavenly Father. Every ounce of my being is sure of this.
I gave M the copy of the talk. I asked her to read it and read it with her husband. I told her that she needs the church and the church needs her. The blessings of the gospel will bring happiness to her and her family forever. We left with a prayer, all of us teary eyed. 
I wish I could say there was a happy ending here. I don't know what M will choose to do. I don't know how I came across with my blunt statements. I know I feel like I did everything I could. I really love M and her family. I'm grateful for the experience of visiting her. If nothing else good came from it, at least my own testimony has been strengthened.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Date night

Not Brian and I.... are you kidding? Leave all these kiddos alone with some poor soul?! I'm sure they'd all survive.... but so not worth the hassle it would be to arrange all that! Brian and I get our date-night kicks from sitting on our new balcony together after the kiddos go to sleep. It's a nice view of the mountains from here on the 3rd floor of this complex.
But BRIANNA and I had a little date night! We walked across the street last night after B got home to check out Scoopology. The name had me intrigued. I figured it must be frozen yogurt/icecream.... though I knew I could be wrong, since the "Cookie Cutters" place across the street ended up being a children's hair salon, NOT a cookie bakery. Biggest disappointment of my life. Seriously.
But Scoopology... very cute!  Gelato in dozens of fun flavors, with the option of a hot cookie on top. Kindof amazing. And it's one of those locally-owned places, not a chain. I feel good about supporting them.     Once, anyway. I'm too cheap to go back again.... heelllooooo - you can buy a couple gallons of frozen happiness at the grocery store for what we paid there! But it was fun for one night. Brianna is the perfect date - she loves to open doors, provides fabulous coversation, and gives me lots of hugs and kisses at the end of the night.

Friday, March 11, 2011

nothing solid about solids

One of my favorite things about breastfeeding is how simple it is. Nothing to think about. My babies are getting perfect nutrition every time. No prep, no clean up. Done.
But now we're in the solid food phase, and life has gotten trickier. What to make? When? How much? The MESS! The PREP! The DIAPERS! All those bibs and spoons...highchairs... TIME. My time is already pretty dang limited, and now I have to somehow fit in all this! WHY CAN'T THEY JUST EXCLUSIVELY BF UNTIL THEY CAN FEND FOR THEMSELVES?!?!
But I try not to waste time wishing away things I can't change... the fact is - they've gotta eat! And even though they'd probably be ok just breastfeeding (some days during the move, that's all they did, since everything was packed), I'm a by-the-book girl. I basically follow standard accepted best practice... the AAP says to start around the half -year mark... so that's what we did. One food at a time. So tedious and time consuming.  I know - I have such a bad attitude about the whole thing. With my first child, I thought this was so FUN! I loved making up baby food concoctions, and thought the whole blender-to-ice cube trays homemade baby food system was genius. Now... just another thing on my to-do list!  BBBLLLLAAAAHHHH... I should probably do my blogging AFTER I exercise... then I'm in a better mood.
And I've been questioning the whole point of blogging now, since I tried making a Blurb blog book and it was an awful program, so I'm guessing now that I won't end up printing this. It will just stay on the www forever.
Annnyyyywaayyyss.... back to the mush.
Courtney loves it. Can't shovel it into her mouth fast enough. She wears her bib nicely (I LOVE the over-the-head bibs - the homemade type, that are basically just a dish towel with a stretchy head hole - NOT the velcro-attaching-behind-the-neck type. They can rip those off). Courtney lets me know she's done by simply keeping her mouth closed. She likes everything I've given her - even pureed meat concoctions, which just seems so very disgusting. She's making up for not being a great nursling - she's never had a perfect latch or done a full feeding without a serious amount of effort on my part. I've always blamed her lower weight on that, though I could be wrong.
And then there's Mr. Bennett. Totally a perfect nursling, but...HE HATES SOLID FOOD! He acts like everything on a spoon is poison! It's slowly getting better... he's stopped GAGGING up everything I manage to get in his mouth... but he doesn't enjoy this one bit. I'm trying not to force it.... don't wanna traumatize the poor kid... but I have this fear of him developing his father's eating preferences. If Brian had his way, he'd the same four "foods" everyday. Pizza, burgers, fries, candy. One of my daily to-do tasks goes something like, "prevent Brian's arteries from occluding." My son will STARVE before I let him grow up malnutritioned. So he's going to experience lots of different tastes and textures over and over and over until he learns to squeal with joy at the sight of leafy greens.  MmmHmm.
For the most part, my philosophy on baby feeding is here.
My favorite baby food recipe book is this.  And this is a great one. Although most of the time, I just take some produce from my Bountiful Basket and stick them in my vitamix, with a protein source sometimes. Whatever's handy, basically.
I've also started getting in the habit of sanitizing my floor everyday, since with the way these two are scooting themselves around... they'll probably be eating off the floor soon. Lovely. MORE on my to-do list!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lookin' up.

I could do a lot of whining and moping right now. I have no friends. I have to use elevators everyday. Brian's working extra long hours. We're renters again. It's colder here. I have no routine. Our neighbors are all elderly. I miss my Cedar world.
But it's like that story with the Indian and the two different wolves - whichever one is fed, will grow. Or the pebble analogy - it's huge up close, but on the ground far away it's relatively inconsequential. If I'm not making any sense, ask my mom. Her pep talks....
So I'm trying to focus on the POSITIVES about living here in Bountiful now! And there are some definite positives. Let's discuss:
*Locationlocationlocation! I look out my window and what do I see? Costco. Lowe's. Paradise Bakery. Scoopology. Deseret Book. And more! So much retail within walking distance! I love leaving my car parked in the garage as much as possible.
*Relatives! I have a bunch here. They've all been AWESOME! We had an army show up on moving-in day. Tiffany had us over for dinner. We went to Mark's birthday party at Sally's. A couple second cousins want to babysit our kids. My grandma seems to really enjoy having us here and bringing food to us. They've all lived here forever, so it's great having locals to ask questions to.
*Trails! Legacy Parkway Trail is 11 miles long and just a mile from our place. I think there's more around here too, but that's the only one I've ran on so far. A high school track is nearby too. Maybe I'll get out of my rut and do some workouts there soon.
*Our ward seems nice. We tried to keep a low profile on Sunday, but it didn't work at all. We were greeted and probably will have callings soon. They seem very real and down to earth - not at all the stereotypical Utahanish ward.
*Airport! Just 15 minutes away! For the last 3 years, I've lived hours away from a major airport. So inconvenient. Not anymore! So... COME VISIT, PEOPLES!
*Our condo is nice! Lots of great little perks. Balcony, huge closets, large living room and laundry room, very secure building, spacious, hardwood floors, and - a JET TUB! The kids love it:
I could go on, but we're still surrounded by boxes needing unpacking. It's a slow process getting out of them. I have an "observations on moving" blog post drafted in my head right now, because this is the 6th time we've moved since we've been married. Five different cities. Who lives like that?!?! It's not my first choice of lifestyle at all, but things have always worked out for our little family. We've had countless little miracles. So I think it's obvious we're meant to be Bountifulites (Bountifulians?) right now.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Doesn't moving look FUN?!

Our living room.

With no room to live.